A family gathering is a family meeting for dinner, lunch, or during festivals or weddings, but it does not have to include all of your extended family members. In fact, a family get-together might consist of just a few family members. A family gathering is more informal as opposed to a family reunion which is more formal and typically involves the entire extended family on one or more sides.
Family spending time together has always been considered a special time that promotes a sense of togetherness and unity. Family gatherings are an excellent way to get family members together for a good time and (usually) some good food.
When you think of family gatherings, what comes to mind? I imagine memorable occasions or holidays where the entire family is seated and engaged in conversation, or perhaps they are all cooking together. There are many reasons why family gatherings are important and many ways that they can be held.
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The Definition and Meaning of a Family Gathering
A family gathering is a regular social event or practice that brings family members together for the purpose of bonding. A family gathering can be small, such as a birthday party, or large, such as a wedding celebration. Family gatherings are critical for developing a healthy family unit and the formation of strong bonds.
It can be supper or just an occasion where families get together and spend time with one another. There is no particular cause for a family gathering. It could be an engagement announcement, a dinner party, or any other occasion where family members meet face to face. Family gatherings are usually confined to a subset of the family, such as parents, siblings and their spouses, and their children.
Grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, and aunts are also usually invited and expected to be at family gatherings. Alternatively, family reunions are more formal, larger gatherings of relatives (distant and close) who want to spend time together and share their experiences.
Although family gatherings mostly consist of blood relatives or spouses, close friends can also be considered family and may be invited to attend family gatherings.
Why Are Family Gatherings Important?
Family gatherings play an important role in society. Here are some of the reasons why gatherings should be an integral part of families.
Children Are Provided with Role Models
Having family gatherings so that your children can bond with their relatives allows them to learn from the (hopefully) good examples set before them. Children usually respect and admire their relatives, and they enjoy hearing about their experiences and lifestyles.
These tales are a part of their heritage, and they will provide children with insight into what they may face later in life and how to overcome obstacles. Children should be given the opportunity to understand their lineage and family history and what life was like for earlier generations.
Our forefathers and mothers endured hardships so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today. It’s always fascinating to sit and listen to the older generation’s “survival” stories. Each time, you can learn something new from them and grow to know them better.
Connecting with older relatives will also assist your children in gaining a better understanding of the challenges they are now dealing with. We are the best role models for our children. Children learn from our actions, and one of them is showing that we respect family bonds.
Children learn that family is important through things such as organizing or attending a family gathering. In contrast, if you don’t make time for family gatherings, it’s unlikely that your children will.
Children can begin to see how they are the continuation of generations of individuals by participating in family gatherings. They will feel loved and connected to a larger group of individuals. In their extended family, they might find some new good role models.
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Family Gatherings Help Create Lasting Memories
Family reunions are occasions for making memories, which is especially significant if you live in a different country from the majority of your family members. Your children will remember the days you all spent together in years to come.
It might be challenging to arrange downtime with our own families in our hurried daily lives. It’s considerably more difficult to schedule time with extended family. On the other hand, a large family gathering or reunion allows us an opportunity to appreciate the importance of staying in touch with distant relatives.
It’s the perfect opportunity for us to take a moment to appreciate those who are closest to us. Family reunions provide an opportunity to disconnect from your obligations and focus on the people who make life worthwhile.
At any kind of family gathering, you’ll likely have the chance to engage in stimulating discussions and share memories and laughter. You’ll make wonderful memories and develop strong relationships that will last a lifetime for you and your children.
Family Milestones Should Be Celebrated
Getting together around a key family milestone can be beneficial for certain families. You can commemorate a significant event, such as a wedding, graduation, or anniversary, by hosting a family gathering.
For those who must travel long distances to participate, the pleasure of a family gathering can help lessen the hardship of travel. If you’re arranging a family gathering around a special occasion, you’ll need to plan beforehand. You’ll probably want to plan separate gatherings or activities from any milestone-related celebrations.
Family Gatherings Lead to Strengthened Family Bonds
A family reunion is an excellent way to meet relatives you’ve never met before. You can expose your children to cousins who could become lifelong buddies. In addition, children can meet adult relatives who can help and advise them in the future. Furthermore, children constantly benefit from knowing more people who are positive role models.
Family reunions are vital whether you hold them frequently or once every few years. When a family works together to achieve a goal or shares a meal, they can strengthen their relationships. While today’s technology makes it simpler to stay in touch with family, remember that social media or FaceTime calls are no substitute for a face-to-face family gathering.
Family Gatherings Provide a Feeling of Security
Furthermore, such gatherings provide a sense of security to family members. It gives everyone in the family confidence, for example, when they see their inflated number, which includes grandparents, uncles, and nieces.
According to studies, family gatherings improve all family members’ physical, intellectual, and emotional health, particularly the children. Family gatherings can give a family a sense of connection and security.
This is particularly true for kids, who rely on predictability and routine. Time spent as a family will create a sense of belonging, support, and connection that will continue far into adulthood. Because of this family time, positive behavior increases, and negative behavior is minimized. Children who spend time with their healthy families have better mental health and self-esteem.
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Family Gatherings Can Help Broken Relationships Mend
Family gatherings can assist in mending shattered bonds between family members. Perhaps nothing compares to family unity, love, understanding, and a sense of belonging. When the entire family comes together, it is the greatest time to resolve past grievances. It aids in the resolution of any family conflict.
Please note that this is true of minor disagreements or arguments and does not refer to the breaking of a family bond over a truly toxic relationship or a very negative, or even abusive, experience.
While family is important, there are many valid reasons why you may never wish to see a certain family member again and we are certainly not suggesting that you need to go against your values just to participate in a family gathering.
How to Keep Family Gathering Enjoyable
Family gatherings are often a wonderful experience for everyone. However, each family member contributes their own past, beliefs, behavior, and expectations to any family event. When these conflicting expectations and behaviors collide, the family gatherings are not always peaceful and can go “south” fast.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself dreading them for this reason. You can use several strategies to try to ensure that you have a good time.
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Find Out Who Will Be Attending the Gathering
One strategy is to find out who will be attending the family gathering. From past family gatherings, you will already know who was difficult to interact with and whose company you enjoyed.
By finding out who will be at the gathering, you can prepare yourself to not clash with them or simply decide to not go. You will also be able to anticipate the stress points as they most likely won’t be new.
Only Focus on Yourself and How You Act
Trying to control others is a surefire way to become uncomfortable and frustrated. It is not your responsibility to keep everyone at a family gathering calm. You are solely accountable for yourself (and any minor children you are bringing with you).
Therefore, be cautious when attempting to control the actions or emotions of others and instead concentrate on yourself. Try not to be concerned with how other family members behave or think or imagine how you would like them to feel or act.
Focus on yourself and how you can behave so that you feel better about yourself, and maybe others will follow suit.
Talk About Fun Stories and Bring Up Good Memories
Bring up fun stories or fun memories that engage your family members and yourself. This way, the focus will be on positive things, and the chances of things taking a turn are less likely to happen when everyone is in a good mood.
Have A Plan to Help You Out of Uncomfortable Situations
Have a plan to exit any conversations that go “off the rails” or might be sensitive to you. Try to change the topic to something lighter. If the subject persists, excuse yourself, or have a signal with another family member to let them know that you need some help getting out of a sticky situation.
Thinking ahead and having a strategy can help to reduce the event’s stress. Your strategy could be as simple as avoiding your grandparents since you never see “eye-to-eye” on politics. It’s crucial not to set your sights too high when creating your plan. Choose a few attainable goals and go forward from there. This way, you’ll find out what works best for you.
Examples of Family Gatherings
Family gatherings come in a variety of events. Numerous options are available, ranging from barbeques in your backyard to weekend getaways at exotic locations. The sort that is best for your family is determined by various things, including the location of the gathering, how many family members will be attending, etc. Here are some family gatherings examples.
A Barbeque is an Excellent Family Gathering
A simple and easy family gathering is a family barbeque. These are relatively easy to plan and coordinate and do not require copious amounts of time to plan. This is a great way to bring family members together for good food and fun activities. Family gatherings like these are also much cheaper. These are suitable if you’re looking to host a small get-together.
Family Gatherings Can Happen at Restaurants for Some Events
For events such as birthday parties, engagement announcements, etc., going to a restaurant is usually a go-to where catering is handled by the restaurant itself, and you don’t necessarily have to worry about doing much decorating yourself.
Traveling As a Family is Also a Great Family Gathering Idea
Another example of a family gathering/reunion (depending on the guest list) is a planned cruise or traveling together to exotic locations. These types of gatherings require more planning and often cost a lot of money. However, the plus side is that many family members can join from all over the world.
All gatherings do not have to be done at home. If you have a little more leeway in your budget, host it somewhere with memorable things you can all enjoy together.
Other family gathering events are themed dance parties, hosting trivia nights, having outdoor movie nights, etc. The goal is to bring the family together for a good time.
Tips On How to Have a Successful Family Gathering
Planning a family gathering can be daunting, especially when you’re not sure where to start. Fear not, as it is relatively easy and can be fun too.
Create a List to Help You Manage the Planning
The first thing you’ll want to do is put together a list of the things you want to do at the gathering. The family members you wish to invite, fun activities the whole family can participate in, and food can all be included in this list.
You can also enlist the help of others to make the experience more enjoyable and ensure that everything is planned “perfectly”.
Set a Suitable Budget for The Gathering
The truth is that the family gathering will be costly. You’ll need a budget and can, in some cases, approach family members for contributions depending on where the gathering will be held. Keep in mind that family gatherings do not have to be expensive. These contributions might not be financial, but rather asking each family member to bring their own dish to a pot-luck for everyone to enjoy.
However, you will need money for food, decorations, any fun activity equipment you will be leasing, or even the location you may be renting. Therefore, carefully find out what needs money and how much is needed. Send the list to family members and find out if any of them can help out.
Give Everyone Something to Do
Pair family members together, so they have someone to do the task with. Delegate tasks such as decorating the venue, cleaning up after the event, babysitting, and coming up with fun activities for each family member.
Although gatherings are usually planned and executed by one person, enlisting everyone’s help can be a great way to make everyone feel included. It’s also an excellent way to let everyone bond and catch up.
Ask Family Members to Contribute Some Meals
Invite family members to bring a dish to share. Ensure that they know that it can either be a dish they cooked themselves or something ordered or bought from a store. Not everyone can cook, but they may want to still bring something.
This is another way to make everyone feel welcome and allow those that enjoy cooking to show off their cooking skills. It’s also an excellent way for families to share cooking secrets and recipes.
Teens are capable of assisting in food preparation. You will be passing on some crucial cooking skills while also making them feel like significant contributors if you encourage their participation.
Plan Activities That Accommodate Everyone
The best way to find out what each family member likes to do is to ask them. Send out a survey with a list of different activities. This way, you’ll find out what the kids do with their spare time and what they would like to be doing at the family gathering, whether it’s outdoor activities like baseball or more subdued activities like board games.
Board games are always a favorite at family gatherings. Also, make plans to accommodate shy kids. Some people might want a quiet space after some time. Ensure there is a place for some peaceful time away from the crowd, so they have time to recharge before joining the group again.
Find A Way to Document the Event
Ensure that you have a way to record or document the event so it can be watched in other family events. Have some family members record moments and take pictures. All of this can be put together, and the final piece can be a great way to reminisce in the future.
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Family gatherings are essential in today’s world. Individual members benefit from the family gathering in terms of love, unity, development, happiness, and various other factors. Although they can be challenging when personalities clash, they have many more benefits.
Family gatherings should be a regular thing in families.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.